Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 15, 2020
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Teammates Take Leech Lake Day Two, With Topper, Hasse
Topping Wolden, Leininger, By .12 Pounds
Just about the weight of one pencil and a sharpened-down stub. Or, one CD plus a broken one you’re ready to throw out. That’s the difference for Randy Topper and Chuck Hasse in getting a “W” from your teammates, as the Day Two winners at the AIM Weekend Walleye Series/Warrior Boats/Musky House Marine Open on Leech Lake, MN.
“It took Randy and Chuck until literally the last ticks of the clock, but they won by ‘that much,’” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “Not only did they collect $9,000 for the win, they also won another $1,500 for winning first in the side pot contest. Guess if you’re confident, you’re confident all the way. And because they finished sixth the day before, they’re in great position for a run at the Yamaha Motor Corp USA Team Of The Year, with one qualifier to go.”
The team of Topper, from Cohasset, MN and Hasse, from Walker, MN, won this one where Leech also gave it up for the Day One winners, namely Walker Bay. Their teammates Tyler Wolden and Nate Leininger, who also spent the day in Walker, finished second, earning them $3,500, and they also finished second in the side pot contest, good for another $900. More on them in a bit. First, here’s how Topper/Hasse did it.
Topper said they began scoping out the lake Wednesday, be what most teams do, breaking down the lake and eliminating water. Like nearly everyone entered, they agreed that it would be a tough bite. Because of that, they concentrated on looking for individual fish with their electronics.
“Nothing that we figured would be going, was going at all,” Topper said. “We had some big fish we seen on the electronics, but from previous years here and knowing that possibly those fish would get caught and worn out, we wanted a Plan B for Day Two, and that was our job. Chuck had found these fish that he kept checking on that we needed to win, and we scoured the lake and never found anything better, and we ended up putting five fish together for Day Two.”
After heading to the bay, they basically hunted for the right fish. And by 10 a.m., they had four.
“We knew coming into Day Two that we had to do most of our damage by 10. Then we could figure it out from there,” Topper continued. In the first half-hour of using a variety of live bait, from crawlers, leeches and minnows and dragging them at about .6 mph right by their noses to entice fish, or hovering on particular fish to force feed’em, they spiked one, a 26-incher. They were on the way. Once they stopped being interested, they headed to another spot.
“Then probably a half-hour later we caught a 26-1/2-incher, and then a little while later, we got a 29-1/2, and our fourth was a 26-1/2 again,” Topper said. “Our fifth would have come then too but when the 29-1/2 bit and I set the hook, Chuck said ‘I’m hooked up,’ and he ran back to his rod and set the hook and his leader broke half-way up. So more than likely that would have been that fifth, so the rest of the day we were re-living that nightmare.” Until…..
After those four, he said, they were in limbo waiting for that Number Five fish at a spot they found that had smaller fish. Hasse pulled in a 22-incher to at least round out their card.
“So at 2 p.m. we started looking around and at a third spot we caught a 13, and Chuck got a 15-1/2, but we knew one more better fish would put us in the battle for the win. We got back to our original spot and saw one fish we liked (ain’t electronics something?) and it looked a little like a pike, and once I set the hook, we rounded out our bag with just about 10 minutes to go with another 26-1/2-incher.
“I think the whole lake heard us yell when we caught that last fish,” he laughed. “That was an exciting moment. We had a pretty good run of luck and knew that would get us a lot of points and put us in the running for Team Of The Year. The last time it was posted we were in fifth.”
Lake Winnibigoshish is next. “I don’t know, both Chuck and I are kinda home team from there, but the thing is, both he and I guide, but it’s been years since we’ve been there,” he said.
In other words, watch for them to do well. It almost always happens. Almost.
Their teammates Wolden, from Carlos, MN and Leininger, from Miltona, came in with 39.95 pounds, a couple of walleye cheeks away, and $3,500 to the better, in their Yamaha 150-powered tiller boat, which brought them another check in Yamaha Power Pay rewards.
“Lucky the first-place team were our teammates, so our team took both first and second. We also stuck to Walker Bay,” Wolden said. “We swung for it, you might say, because the main lake has really been off. The fish are finicky there and the bug hatch just got done prior to this.”
They used minnows and leeches, with the majority of the five walleye they caught hitting chubs, of no particular size. The leeches, however, had to be the biggest they could find.
“There wasn’t a lot of fish in Walker but the fish that are there are big. To target big fish you had to find them on a great graph and get back on top of them to put a leech or minnow in front of their faces, so I used my transom-mounted Garmin Panoptix LiveScope system and we were able to chase them down and do it,” he said. Deploying that super cool industry leader Garmin system also earned him an extra $500 in Garmin Tournament Rewards, and using a JT seven-foot, one-inch medium light rod also did the deed.
“That was more important than what bait was in front of them,” Wolden said. “We caught five all day and probably double that in pike. It was kind of a guessing game to fish every mark you could find.”
Early into Sunday, they caught a 23-1/4-incher. “Then we went a good couple of hours until we found another to fish to. That was a 26-3/4-incher, and then again there was a little flurry, a 28-1/2, a 27-3/4 and the last two hours, we caught another 27-3/4, and couldn’t get another the rest of the tournament.
All their fish were caught in a half-mile to mile area known to hold good fish, he said, and since he have another tournament coming up, no, he wasn’t going to give up that spot’s pedigree.
Wrapping up the top five for Day Two, Ryan Hylla, of Moorhead, MN and Chaz Dobias, of Nevis, MN, landed 38.59 pounds and $2,800.
In fourth with 30.73 pounds, good for $1,600, were Saturday’s second place team of Scott Schultz, of Watkins, MN, and Christ Peters of Kimball. They were the only team that finished in the top five back-to-back that weekend, also putting them as a team to be reckoned with at Lake Winnie for Team Of The Year.
Fifth went to Hunter Nitti, of Rosemount MN, and JR Sivek of Mound, who landed 27.87 pounds, good for a $1,500 payday.
Next up, beautiful Lake Winnibigoshish, Sunday, Aug. 2. If you’re not there, you’d better be fishing. Meantime, follow all the action in both Wisconsin and North Dakota at AIM’s Facebook page, and find details on all other upcoming state qualifiers at the AIM website.
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